Psilocybe cubensis is a species of psychedelic mushroom whose principal active compounds are psilocybin and psilocin. Commonly called shrooms, magic mushrooms, golden tops, cubes, or gold caps, it belongs to the Hymenogastraceae family of fungi and was previously known as Stropharia cubensis. It is the most well known psilocybin mushroom due to its wide distribution and ease of cultivation.
Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Strophariaceae is the most well known and used by humans since ancient times, owing to the fact that it grows easily. The psychotropic effects are given by the most important active principles, psilocybin (O-phosphoryl-4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine). They are indol alkaloids derived from tryptamine with potent agonist activity at 5-HT receptors and were identified in 1958 by the chemist Albert Hofmann (Kirsten & Bernardi, 2010).
The species was first described in 1906 as Stropharia cubensis by Franklin Sumner Earle in Cuba. In 1907 it was identified as Naematoloma caerulescens in Tonkin by Narcisse Théophile Patouillard, while in 1941 it was called Stropharia cyanescens by William Alphonso Murrill in Florida. These synonyms were later assigned to the species Psilocybe cubensis.
The name Psilocybe is derived from the Greek roots psilos (ψιλος) and kubê (κυβη), and translates as “bare head”. Cubensis means “coming from Cuba”, and refers to the type locality published by Earle. Colloquially, some strains of P. cubensis are known as ‘penis envy’ for its shape.
Psilocybe Cubensis Effect
Every person’s experience will be unique, and it is not easy to predict the effects of using this mushroom. However, novice users should start with a low dosage and increase gradually depending on how their body responds. Experienced users have already mastered how this mushroom affects them, and they can consume as much as they can as they observe their body limit.
The effects of using Psilocybe Cubensis Strain are different depending on the individual. Taking this shroom in drinks will bring the results faster compared to when you eat them. Consuming this magic mushroom will leave you with hallucinations and magical experiences that will make you feel different.
Psilocybe Cubensis is rich in psychoactive compounds, which leaves users with introspection and mystical experiences. When the high hits you, you will first experience a weird feeling in your mind and then feel mellow. You will also experience some minor visual effects and enjoy the meditation that will carry your body away.
Psilocybe Cubensis will take your mind into a dreamland where you start having good ideas and creative thoughts flowing. The high effect will provide a tranquillity feeling, which will help the user to meditate and connect to the inner self. You are likely to experiences a tremendous mental focus and see the world revolving around you.
The effects of this magic shroom are different depending on the individual. Some users have reported mood swings, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, tremors, numbing, sweat, and nausea. You may also experience psychotic effects and visual impairment.
Psilocybe Cubensis Medical Uses
Psilocybe Cubensis is useful in a therapeutic setting, as well as in the entertainment industry. This magic mushroom is rich in potent compounds that can treat a variety of disorders and ailments. Taking the right dosage of this mushroom may help treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and cluster headaches.
Psilocybe Cubensis is a hybrid that hits your mind to give cerebral mental highness, helping to calm your thoughts and relieve symptoms associated with stress and other emotional disorders. Individuals struggling with focus and concentration disorders can significantly benefit from this magic mushroom. Clearing the unnecessary thoughts, this shroom is capable of giving relaxation that would send you to a deep body sleep, thereby helping those with insomnia.
How To Grow Psilocybe Cubensis
In 1989, the famed psychedelic mushroom researcher Jochen Gartz studied the impact of adding tryptamine to the growing medium of the magic mushroom Psilocybe cubensis. Specifically, Gartz wanted to know how increasing the amount of tryptamine affected the levels of psilocybin and psilocin the mushrooms produced. Recall that tryptamine is a precursor in the biosynthesis of psilocybin.
Gartz observed that increasing the tryptamine concentration in a cow dung-rice growing medium increased the psilocin content from 0.09% to 3.3% of the dried mushroom weight compared to controls. Also, using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and thin-layer chromatography (TLC), Gartz discovered that P. cubensis grown on this tryptamine-enriched mixture contained only a small amount of psilocybin (0.01 – 0.2%).
- Spore syringe, 10-12 cc
- Organic brown rice flour
- Vermiculite, medium/fine
- Drinking water
- 12 Shoulderless half-pint jars with lids (e.g. Ball or Kerr jelly or canning jars)
- Hammer and small nail
- Measuring cup
- Mixing bowl
- Heavy-duty tin foil
- Large cooking pot with a tight lid, for steaming
- Small towel (or approx. 10 paper towels)
- Micropore tape
- Clear plastic storage box, 50-115L
- Drill with ¼-inch drill bit
- Mist spray bottle
- Rubbing alcohol
- Butane/propane torch lighter
- Surface disinfectant
- Air sanitizer
- Sterilized latex gloves (optional)
- Surgical mask (optional)
- Still air or glove box (optional)
STEP 1: PREPARATION
1) Prepare jars:
- With the hammer and nail (which should be wiped with alcohol to disinfect) punch four holes down through each of the lids, evenly spaced around their circumferences.
2) Prepare substrate:
- For each jar, thoroughly combine ⅔ cup vermiculite and ¼ cup water in the mixing bowl. Drain excess water using the disinfected strainer.
- Add ¼ cup brown rice flour per half-pint jar to the bowl and combine with the moist vermiculite.
3) Fill jars:
- Being careful not to pack too tightly, fill the jars to within a half-inch of the rims.
- Sterilize this top half-inch with rubbing alcohol
- Top off your jars with a layer of dry vermiculite to insulate the substrate from contaminants.
4) Steam sterilize:
- Tightly screw on the lids and cover the jars with tin foil. Secure the edges of the foil around the sides of the jars to prevent water and condensation from getting through the holes.
- Place the small towel (or paper towels) into the large cooking pot and arrange the jars on top, ensuring they don’t touch the base.
- Add tap water to a level halfway up the sides of the jars and bring to a slow boil, ensuring the jars remain upright.
- Place the tight-fitting lid on the pot and leave to steam for 75-90 minutes. If the pot runs dry, replenish with hot tap water.
NOTE: Some growers prefer to use a pressure cooker set for 60 minutes at 15 PSI.
5) Allow to cool:
- After steaming, leave the foil-covered jars in the pot for several hours or overnight. They need to be at room temperature before the next step.
STEP 2: INOCULATION
1) Sanitize and prepare syringe:
- Use a lighter to heat the length of your syringe’s needle until it glows red hot. Allow it to cool and wipe it with alcohol, taking care not to touch it with your hands.
- Pull back the plunger a little and shake the syringe to evenly distribute the magic mushroom spores.
NOTE: If your spore syringe and needle require assembly before use, be extremely careful to avoid contamination in the process. Sterilized latex gloves and a surgical mask can help, but the surest way is to assemble the syringe inside a disinfected still air or glove box.
2) Inject spores:
- Remove the foil from the first of your jars and insert the syringe as far as it will go through one of the holes.
- With the needle touching the side of the jar, inject approximately ¼ cc of the spore solution (or slightly less if using a 10 cc syringe across 12 jars).
- Repeat for the other three holes, wiping the needle with alcohol between each.
- Cover the holes with micropore tape and set the jar aside, leaving the foil off.
- Repeat the inoculation process for the remaining jars, sterilizing your needle with the lighter, and then alcohol between each.
STEP 3: COLONIZATION
1) Wait for the mycelium:
- Place your inoculated jars somewhere clean and out of the way. Avoid direct sunlight and temperatures outside 70-80 °F (room temperature).
- White, fluffy-looking mycelium should start to appear between seven and 14 days, spreading outward from the inoculation sites.
NOTE: Watch out for any signs of contamination, including strange colors and smells, and dispose of any suspect jars immediately. Do this outside in a secure bag without unscrewing the lids. If you’re unsure about whether a jar is contaminated, always err on the side of caution—even if the substrate is otherwise healthily colonized—as some contaminants are deadly for humans.
- After three to four weeks, if all goes well, you should have at least six successfully colonized jars. Leave for another seven days to allow the mycelium to strengthen its hold on the substrate.
STEP 4: PREPARING THE GROW CHAMBER
1) Make a shotgun fruiting chamber:
- Take your plastic storage container and drill ¼-inch holes roughly two inches apart all over the sides, base, and lid. To avoid cracking, drill your holes from the inside out into a block of wood.
- Set the box over four stable objects, arranged at the corners to allow air to flow underneath. You may also want to cover the surface under the box to protect it from moisture leakage.
NOTE: The shotgun fruiting chamber is far from the best design, but it’s quick and easy to build and does the job well for beginners. Later, you may want to try out alternatives.
2) Add perlite:
- Place your perlite into a strainer and run it under the cold tap to soak.
- Allow it to drain until there are no drips left, then spread it over the base of your grow chamber.
- Repeat for a layer of perlite roughly 4-5 inches deep.
STEP 5: FRUITING
1) “Birth” the colonized substrates (or “cakes”):
- Open your jars and remove the dry vermiculite layer from each, taking care not to damage your substrates, or “cakes”, in the process.
- Upend each jar and tap down onto a disinfected surface to release the cakes intact.
2) Dunk the cakes:
- Rinse the cakes one at a time under a cold tap to remove any loose vermiculite, again taking care not to damage them.
- Fill your cooking pot, or another large container, with tepid water, and place your cakes inside. Submerge them just beneath the surface with another pot or similar heavy item.
- Leave the pot at room temperature for up to 24 hours for the cakes to rehydrate.
3) Roll the cakes:
- Remove the cakes from the water and place them on a disinfected surface.
- Fill your mixing bowl with dry vermiculite.
- Roll your cakes one by one to fully coat them in vermiculite. This will help to keep in the moisture.
4) Transfer to grow chamber:
- Cut a tin foil square for each of your cakes, large enough for them to sit on without touching the perlite.
- Space these evenly inside the grow chamber.
- Place your cakes on top and gently mist the chamber with the spray bottle.
- Fan with the lid before closing.
5) Optimize and monitor conditions:
- Mist the chamber around four times a day to keep the humidity up, taking care not to soak your cakes with water.
- Fan with the lid up to six times a day, especially after misting, to increase airflow.
Magic Mushroom Growing Technique: The Pf Tek
Personal-scale cultivation of Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms ranges from the relatively simple and small-scale PF Tek and other “cake” methods, that produce a limited amount of mushrooms, to advanced techniques utilizing methods of professional mushroom cultivators. These advanced methods require a greater investment of time, money, and knowledge, but reward the diligent cultivator with far larger and much more consistent harvests.
While the PF Tek isn’t actually a true bulk mushroom growing technique, one can still produce fair amounts of mushrooms with it. I’ve included it here simply because it is likely one of the most used techniques by beginners. It is user friendly, and does have less steps than true bulk techniques. This makes the tek in general better suited for beginners, as there is less risk of failure. I’ve seen many people use this tek, and graduate to authentic bulk techniques. Some just go straight to bulk. I’ll leave that choice up to you! Here is the Pf Tek
How Long Does It Take To Grow Psilocybe Cubensis
Some growers use fluorescent lighting set on a 12-hour cycle, but indirect or ambient lighting during the day is fine. Mycelium only needs a little light to determine where the open air is and where to put forth mushrooms.
The time it takes for your mycelium-colonized substrate to put forth harvestable fruits depends on several factors. But the whole process of cultivating mushrooms should take between 1-2 months.
When To Harvest Psilocybe Cubensis
You should be able to harvest your fruits 5-12 days after they first begin to sprout from the mushroom substrate.
The trick is to harvest them before the veil breaks, i.e before they fully mature and release their spores. In other words, the gills should still be covered. At this stage, your mushrooms should also have light, conical caps.
How To Grow Psilocybe Cubensis Without Spores
Use a Psilocybe cubensis grow kit if you don’t want to add the mushroom spores yourself. The typical cubensis grow kit comes with an already colonized substrate for growing mushrooms in a box. They’re available for different cubensis varieties, as well as different species.
But magic mushroom grow kits are not without their critics.
How To Identify Psilocybe Cubensis
There is an incredible variety of mushroom species in general, and the same goes for the psilocybin-containing ones. So far, there are some 227 accepted and classified species, 53 of which grow in Mexico, 22 in the USA and Canada, 19 in Australia and the eastern islands, 16 in Europe and 15 in Asia. Some of these species overlap in terms of where they grow, some are endemic to certain areas and conditions.
There is no single feature based on which magic mushrooms can be distinguished from regular ones. They come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and the only way to truly differentiate them is to know their appearance well, and get experience in mushroom hunting.
A good strategy to start with is to get familiar with the most common species of psychedelic shrooms (Psilocybe cubensis) available in the wild.
Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe subcubensis are two species that can be found in tropical zones throughout the world. The former are much more common, and are the most well-known species of magic mushrooms, whereas the latter are not as abundant, but can be found growing in the same areas. Their appearance is also very similar: they are classic stubby-stemmed parasol-shaped mushrooms with predominantly light-to-golden-brownish caps that are bulbous before fruiting, and flat and wide in diameter when fully mature. A certain kind of P. cubensis is known worldwide as the “Golden Teacher”.
We recommend starting at the medium experience level if you have not tried them before, as the visuals can be quite intense and harder to handle for inexperienced users. Set and setting are extremely important for a positive experience. We also highly encourage people to have a guide or sitter if they are new to psychedelics.